As a link builder, it has always pained me a little to see Google lavish such love and appreciation upon PPC (pay-per-click) service providers.
Imagine if, as a link builder, you had a document from Google that certified that you ‘know your stuff’ when it comes to getting links. Awesome, right?!
Now imagine how helpful a nifty link building dashboard would be too, that showed you tidbits like how popular a link from x site would be or how many more links you’ll need to compete for top spot on a keyword or how to choose better anchor text.
PPC folks have this already. In fact, Google helps them in almost every way possible; from setting up an account, to creating the best ads, to personalized phone calls to see if there is anything else they can assist with as far as their PPC campaigns are concerned.
Is it because PPC is a certified money maker for Google? Absolutely.
Does Google hate link builders?
I don’t think it’s really fair to say that Google hates all link builders, because I’m pretty sure it’s the link builders who try to game the system, that Google detests. Still, there has never been any real support from Google when it comes to building links legitimately.
We know links are needed and we know we’re supposed to attract them with our content but that’s literally where the support ends.
Even SEOs have help from Google in the form of detailed documentation, webmaster guidelines and Matt Cutts (when he wasn’t on leave) and various Google employees that respond to questions in SEO forums and communities.
Links make the Interwebs go round.
But the only advice we get from Google, as far as building links, is to NOT participate in gaming the system. We’re told to get our links naturally and believe that good things will automatically happen for our websites. So basically, create amazing content for Google’s index and the high-quality links will follow.
Yet, if no one linked to anyone anymore, then Google would be hooped. No one can deny that links are the roads, highways, boulevards and back alleys of the internet.
Instead of spidering pages and following outbound links to other sites, Google would have to figure out another way to find pages for it’s index. And without pages to show in their index, there wouldn’t even be any SERP impressions or clicks to collect on.
Would Google ever certify link builders?
Like PPC, I believe Google would have to somehow profit from link building, in order to certify link builders.
The only way I could see this happening, would be for Google to make it ‘okay’ for websites to start charging for links. Google could then give each link builder a type of ‘affiliate’ ID that they could use for each and every link they build.
This way when I spend money acquiring a link, the link is logged and the site owner has to give Google a piece of the action. Then because the site owner is linking out to quality sites and content, Google rewards them with rankings.
Although it sounds wonderful (to me at least), this will never happen though. Google can’t ethically profit from links and still “police” the internet.
What might certified link building look like?
Also, like analytics, in order for Google to offer certification for link builders, there would have to be some sort of test a link builder would have to pass.
What type of questions could be on the test?
Multiple choice questions such as; Your client operates a flower website. Which of the following pages would be the most relevant link for them?
They could also ask scenario type questions, such as; Your client receives an email from a relevant site offering to sell them a link. Explain how you would handle it.
Of course, they couldn’t forget the basics, like; What is the most important qualifier of a potential backlink? Answer: relevance. Or, how would you identify a link for advertising purposes? Answer: With a nofollow tag (i.e. a link condom).
I don’t know a link builder that wouldn’t jump at an opportunity to be Google Link Building Certified, do you?
Yes PPC strategists spend money, and yes Google likes money, but link builders work hard at (indirectly) helping Google too. The links we build are roadmaps to information. Our links help Google find good stuff to include in their index. You know, the index full of other people’s content that makes Google a buttload of money?
I may be off my rocker but building links is hard work and, as a link builder, I sure do look forward to the day Google sees us as useful instead of a nuisance.